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Weddings, School Holidays and Halloran

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:04 pm
by Kitsune
Every week or so, I stop by the Wild Hunt Pagan Blog and read up on the news. I missed a few weeks though and imagine my amazement when I saw these on the site!
Pagan Weddings in Ireland: Just a few quick news notes for you this Sunday, starting with the news that Ireland will now recognize weddings performed by officiants from Pagan Federation Ireland as legally binding.

“Following a five-year campaign the Irish state has now recognized the right of the Pagan Federation Ireland to perform weddings. Couples will now be able to be legally married after a ceremony that concludes with jumping over a broomstick to mark crossing over from an old life to a new one.”

Before this, Pagan couples would have to get legally married at a separate civil ceremony, and then participate in a religious ceremony of their choosing. A circumstance that still holds in the UK (unless you’re Christian). Eight solemnizers are currently being trained under the new guidelines, and no doubt wedding planners who work with Pagan tourists are excited about these new developments.

Pagan Holidays in New Jersey: In a final note, word has been spreading through Pagan e-mail lists that the New Jersey State Board of Education has added the eight Wiccan/Pagan “Wheel of the Year” holidays to its “official” list.

“I just got a call from the NJ Board of Education. They are adding 8 Wiccan/Pagan holidays to the “official” BoE calendar! They just wanted to double check the dates with me, in response to my letter to them in December. They said it will be adopted as official policy next month at the March BoE meeting!! our holidays plus a couple Jewish ones they apparently missed.”

This means that school children in New Jersey can now take an excused absence for those eight holidays without question. The addition of Pagan holidays came after a Salem County School refused to grant an excused absence for Yule to a Pagan student, which started a letter-writing campaign by local Pagan parents. Congratulations to the New Jersey Pagans for this win!
And, of course, Keeping up with it for Ragnar...
Quick Note: Halloran for Congress? Even though Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran’s political career has just begun, the openly Pagan politician may be setting his sights higher in the near future. The Theodsman has apparently been wowing them at local Tea Party gatherings, and there’s a growing number who want him to challenge Congressman Gary Ackerman in November.

“Recently I attended a Tea Party event focused on interviewing candidates to take on U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) in the Fifth Congressional District … I believe that strategically we need a proven vote-getter in order to mount the campaign needed to take on an incumbent like Ackerman. We need City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). While I liked what I heard from every prospective candidate, I was particularly engaged by Halloran, who gave inspiring introductory remarks at the meeting on our traditions of federalism, limited government and the need for fiscal responsibility. Halloran won a heated election just last year against Ackerman’s former deputy director of community affairs, Kevin Kim, despite the congressman putting substantial political capital against Halloran in a hard-hitting and aggressive campaign.”

While I don’t normally consider letters to the editor “news” it notes that the event Halloran spoke at was “a Tea Party event focused on interviewing candidates”, which means the City Councilman must be giving at least some thought to running for higher office. The BlueCollarCorner blog is supportive of the idea.

“When I questioned Dan on the possibility of him running so soon after winning the council seat he was quite apprehensive. He didn’t want to come off as opportunistic to his extremely loyal residents who put countless hours in on getting him elected. I explained to him that as noble as that sounds it’s those same people who are pushing you to take on this race. He again spoke of voter fatigue and financial shortfall and I told him the story of a man that was 30 pts. behind in the polls and not a dollar to his name and trying to get the seat of a man who was the ” Lion of the Senate” That man was Scott Brown and that lion was Ted Kennedy. The Tea Party Factor is unlike any movement we have seen in our lifetimes and if you are picked to serve, serve you must not because you are being forced it’s because we need you.”

These populist rumblings in favor of Halloran are getting noticed, But even if Halloran does throw his hat into the ring and decide to run for Congress he would face a far tougher battle than before. First, there’s no telling exactly how strong the Tea Party vote is in New York’s Fifth Congressional District, could the populist movement bring in the votes and volunteers he needs? Would he benefit from a larger “Get Out Of Our House” groundswell? Secondly, you can bet the Pagan issue would get used against him again. While that tactic ultimately backfired on a neighborhood level, where he was a known commodity, it could seriously damage a larger campaign. Third, and finally, he’d need a lot of money, far more than the shoestring he ran his last campaign on. Will the New York GOP have his back, or would have have to depend on small donations from individual voters?

For now, Halloran seems to be testing the waters, being understandably cautious to overreach so early in his political career. But if support continues to grow, and Ackerman looks weak, we may see the reemergence of candidate Halloran. If that happens, you can be sure the Pagan Newswire Collective, Pagan+Politics, and The Wild Hunt will be covering the race.
Once again, its the Wild Hunt, check 'em out.

Re: Weddings, School Holidays and Halloran

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:38 am
by Kitsune
Apparently, Halloran has just let out an update to what I wrote above... The info is down below. As usual, check out the Wild Hunt blog for more of this type of information.
New York City Councilman (and out Pagan) Dan Halloran, despite attending a Tea Party event looking for challengers to Congressman Gary Ackerman in November, and gaining some vocal grass-roots support, has decided to not run a new campaign so soon after gaining political office.

“I’m flattered and grateful they think I’m that caliber of a candidate,” Halloran said. “But right now I’m worried about running the district. I just came off a cycle in a bitter election, so I’m not ready to run another race.”

Of course, like any good politician, he did leave the door of opportunity open just a crack, in case the situation changes.

“I’ll sit down and talk to [local party leaders], but I’m not inclined to run … I haven’t ruled it out, but Gary Ackerman has tremendous financial and political resources. My big picture right now is the state of the city and that our district gets its fair share of money.”

So if Ackerman should experience a scandal, or a big drop in popularity, he might change his mind (but then, so might a lot of other people). In the meantime, I think it’s smart of Halloran to demure from attempting to jump from City Councilman to Congressman so quickly, it shows that he’s thinking about the long-term future, and his constituents.

Re: Weddings, School Holidays and Halloran

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:08 am
by Librarian
Nice news about the weddings! My girlfriend and I may have to visit my uncle when the day arrives. :-D